Friday, October 30, 2009

Ms Fab Gets Screened

Oh wow! This incredible iron fireplace screen was a surprise at the haunts today. It has a dull brassy/silver patina over iron, and is very heavy. I love the scrolls integrated with the greek key motif.

Unfortunately, I have no fireplace. Kitty does, though, and I sent her a quick email with the shot above. But I had forgotten that her fireplace has a door. "You should just get it for when you do have a fireplace." Love her.

"What about Ms Fab?"

YES! I had forgotten that Mr and Ms Fab have a fireplace.... Kitty forwarded the image to her, and now...

This fab piece is living with fab people. It's a great foil for their modern furniture. It would have broken my heart to leave this behind!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ship It

If you have 18 minutes -- it is worth it. Watch. Watch. Watch. Watch. SHIP.

Great video for anyone who produces -- "creative" or otherwise. I am sharing this with everyone.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Running Hot and Cold

Eating with real silver adds so much to the gastronomic experience*. I find that particularly with cold foods -- ice cream is ideal -- the chill travels up the utensil to your fingertips. The first time I felt it was the first time ever that I actually felt "connected" to my food, that it was actually an experience rather than just a taste thing -- it was a heightened multi-sensory experience.

It works with hot foods as well, but I think the cold is more pronounced. Try it -- besides, it is truly an elegant way to dine, with your silver. And it gets better with use.

Find out about the mug at its original post here.

*(25¢ bonus for "gastronomic")

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hallejulah It's Five O'Clock

There is major music going to start when you push play -- in case you're at work.

Love this rendition of Hallejulah. Let's just make it a type thing, okay? Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Debut :: Aye, We Speak Trad in Chicago

Royal Stewart Tartan -- if I am incorrect, be kind and just let me know, as I'm not a tartan scholar (but this gentleman, apparently is -- and suddenly I care nothing for haunting kilts, but only of ordering one from him). This incredible four-yard kilt was haunted in Chicago and debuted today. The trees are really popping with color now, and with a rainy, gray foggy sky, this was just the punch I needed. Tartan debut!

Though my ancestors were Scottish Kennedys, I feel right at home sporting the Royal Stewart, as one of those Kennedy men married Princess Mary of Scotland. And let me just invite the thousands, nay, millions of other descendants to share in our wearing of a bright red kilt!

Details: Four-yard kilt (read more about eight- and four-yard kilts here) with fringe on the front panel, two black leather straps with buckles, kilt pin in-tact (biggest surprise of the score), and many, many knife pleats in the back. Made in Jedburgh, Scotland by Rannoch Designs.

Hmm, now that I am referencing my handy little book "The Scottish Clans and Their Tartans", I may be wrong. Well, I will keep telling people it is Royal Stewart until a tartan scholar corrects me, and then I will thank him or her for keeping me on the straight and narrow. The little book was given to me by Mema -- the Kennedy herself.

A sartorial Scot --

And the other Scot's footwear --

"Avise la fin" :: Consider the End
Clan Kennedy motto

The only other bit o' motto that resonates with me as much as Clan Kennedy's is "Esse Quam Videri" (to be rather than to seem -- North Carolina's state motto).

But is there a castle? Why yes, Fiona, there is.

And for context, today's weather report -- just like the midlands!*

*Though I understand that this name is out of fashion. The "Central Belt" just doesn't sound very romantic.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To Quote :: "Are You on Facebook?"

My good DAR friend M treated me to a Civil War reenactment in central Illinois this weekend. It was interesting to experience a Civil War anything above the Mason-Dixon line -- it was weird. I'm so used to everything being so pro-South. It's the same feeling that I had the first time I heard the words of the third and fourth stanzas come out of my mouth while singing "Illinois" (the State song, lyrics below, see the bold passages) at a DAR function. But we're all together now, right? Yes.

Well now, here the Yankees are advancing -- check out that standard!

And a quick shout-out to my NC rebel boys --

In the end, the Union won this battle. But we are in Illinois, after all! Everyone loves an at-home win.

After the battle, we walked around the grounds and came upon President Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. As we passed them, we overheard Honest Abe ask, "Are you on Facebook?"



Written by C.H. Chamberlain
Composed by Archibald Johnston

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O'er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree, turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue, There were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation's glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln's name appears, Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bin 36

Chicago's famous Marina City through the window (otherwise known as the "corncob buildings of Wilco cover art and Steve McQueen movies). Had a delicious prosecco and a cheese flight with a couple of DAR ladies.

The end of the cheese flight:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Love :: Big Country Weekend

Spent the weekend in central Illinois. Answered trivia for charity, sang karaoke, visited a family pumpkin farm, saw a Civil War reenactment and learned how to needlepoint. The landscape is so flat and open here, you can really shoot some big, flat vistas, punctuated with the occasional vertical element: grain elevator, barn, windmill or water tower. And the colors of Illinois (and the midwest in general) are disctinctive: light-golden hues with black soil, green leaves and clear blue skies.

Here's the photo essay:

Thanks for a great weekend, M!

UPDATE :: The next to the last photo is an Indian Mound -- meant to add that in the post!

Friday, October 16, 2009

NYC :: String Me Along

I was stopped dead in my tracks by this window at Rockefeller Center! Check out the type!

There's a real absence/presence thing going on here that I love. The outlines of the letterforms are created by connecting nails in the wall with yarn, creating an interesting reference to the digital bezier curves that create typography for printing. The Bodoni face really shines in the execution -- modern faces have thin, hairline serifs, and the yarn is perfect!

Bodoni typeface showing bezier curves.

The colors are spot-on fun-sophistication, and they really pop on the chalkboard-black walls.

Scale is important too -- these letterforms are all pulled together with the same weight yarn and typeface, but they are totally random letter selections. Type as scenery!

Check out how the curves are executed on this "J"!

J. Crew does great window displays. They're creative with design elements (type, color, composition) and use "white space" -- or I would say "empty space" in a 3-D environment -- to create a fun and sophisticated presentation. Kudos!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Quote :: "The Best, Jerry -- The Best!!"

While in New York I had the pleasure of dining at Compass on the Upper West Side. The menu features seafood, and my red snapper was delish. But the end-all was the dessert by Executive Pastry Chef Jerry Thornton ("J.T." on the whites): an interpretation of classic s'mores, but for a decidedly adult palate. Envision chocolate mousse and toasted marshmallow ice cream on crushed graham cracker with a cinnamon-bourbon foam. My God it was good. To quote Kenny Bania à la Seinfeld, "The best, Jerry -- the best!!"

Visit Compass here.

The image above doesn't do it justice, it's just a quick shot! Trust me. Get the s'mores.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Niew?

Looks like Europe, no? This is Stone Street in New York City, formerly New Amsterdam. While in the city last week, I made a special point to explore the New Amsterdam area in downtown Manhattan as I have ancestors who settled there, while the colony was Dutch. As a southerner, I have been intrigued by this decidedly northern landing.

Much of my knowledge of the colony comes from the book The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. This book does a great job explaining why:

1) New York is today the world's financial hub (the colony was established by the Dutch purely as a trading post, not for political or religious freedoms)

2) New Yorkers are apt to "live and let live" and be more tolerant of other peoples' beliefs (a product of the Dutch idea of civil liberties and their generally tolerant nature)

3) New York is diverse. New Amsterdam was not a Dutch colony filled with singularly Dutch people. Colonists from all over the world came to work for the Dutch West India Company. There were eighteen languages spoken in the colony!

One of my ancestors had a home in this area, and I love to walk the roads and trails where they lived, and imagine how it must have been when they were proving themselves to the world. When in lower Manhattan, you'll see street signs that are black. This color signifies that the street's footprint has not changed over time -- that these streets are the same width and plan as they were in the Dutch colony.

I had lunch at one of the cafes on Stone Street (above). Stone Street was the first street (paved road) in the New Amsterdam colony, hence the name: "stone". Pearl Street is just south, named for the oyster shells left by the Lenni-Lenape Indians. The shells gleamed in the sunlight -- like pearls.

Near the cafe society of Stone Street is the intersection of Pearl Street and Coenties Alley, and this is the location of the old City Tavern -- where Dutch colonists met to rail against Peter Stuyvesant's militaristic rule. The building eventually became City Hall, where the municipal government met. The colony received it's municipal charter in 1653 and stopped being a "company town" of the Dutch West India Company.

The yellow bricks in this sidewalk trace the footprint of the City Tavern. I made sure to get a person in the shot for scale.

Near Pearl Street you'll also see stenciled markings on the sidewalk indicating the waterline in 1609 when Henry Hudson came to the island. Over the past 400 years there have been a lot of changes in Manhattan's shoreline as a result of landfill, and these markers are another way to get a feel for the landscape of the past.

I followed the National Parks Service free audio walking tour on my iPhone. You can download the map and the audio here.

Also, learn about all the events celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson finding Manhattan at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Off with Their Finials!" :: The Bowling Green

New York has lots of Revolutionary War history. The Bowling Green is a very old park situated directly in front of (north of) the old U.S. Customs house at the bottom of Broadway.

When the Declaration of Independence was read to the soldiers of Washington's Army, they were so fired up that they stormed the Bowling Green and felled the grand statue of George III and chopped off the crown finials from each major fence post.

The image above shows one of these major fence posts, without its crown. Every crown was cut off, and the metal was used to make shot for the army's fight against the British. The fence that surrounds the Bowling Green today is the original fence, with only black paint coming between today and it's Revolutionary history.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Haunted :: Columbus Day!

It's Columbus Day -- and who would have thought that this guy could be scored today of all days. It was just too perfect, I had to get it.

The illustrations are wonderful, created by the author Ms Genevieve Foster. Ms Foster authored other books in addition to The World of Columbus and His Sons, including George Washington's World, Abraham Lincoln's World, Augustus Caesar's World, and The World of Captain John Smith (Jamestown shout-out!).

The book is filled with charming line drawings of locations across the globe.

Unfortunately, there isn't a colophon, but it looks like a Garamond type, with inline initial capitals -- easy on the eyes.

And the lady herself --

I will now be haunting for the series -- APB out on Genevieve Foster!

Debut :: NYC Street Shawl

I love a debut, you know -- even a cheapie one. This gem is from a street guy in SOHO (aka one of the best places on Earth), and I love it. It's totally in my fall palette, and no worries if it gets lost, snagged or otherwise ruined. All good!

More "real" New York posts to come, I promise -- like actual stuff about New York!

Love :: New York!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Three Days in New York

Off to the Big Apple for a small retreat. Looking forward to lunch at Fraunces Tavern, a patriot walking tour (or two) and getting some creative electricity. I've been having a wardrobe essentials moment lately -- seems every fashion article or post is "the essential wardrobe" or "ten items you must have", but I suppose that is the season. In a month it will be cocktail and holiday party looks.

However, my own wardrobe is starting to be a well-oiled machine. All the arms and legs of the system are working together, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. The wardrobe schedule for New York:

1 :: Sweater :: black silk/cashmere cable-knit with a shawl-style v-neck

2 :: Sweater :: cream cotton with 3/4 bell sleeves and a cowl neckline

3 :: Trousers :: black. enough said.

4 :: Cords :: brown corduroy with a slim boot-cut

5 :: Tee :: comfy, black

6 :: Shirt :: white button down

7 :: Blazer :: black knit

8 :: Shoes :: Robert Clergerie black suede lace-ups

9 :: Shoes :: Black patent leather pumps

10 :: Handbag :: The man magnet

11 :: Handbag :: Bright mustard yellow daily

12 :: Scarf :: Vintage silk floral (cream ground with magenta, gray, brown dynamic blooms)

13 :: Coat :: Vintage trench (a debut!)

New York photos to come! Have a great weekend!

Bringing Chicago Home

This spring I made the big decision that I was in Chicago to stay*. This realization put a fire under me to truly embrace this town -- and to integrate its imagery into my personal space. I've always used images and souvenirs of North Carolina (which will always be my home), but I had never really thought about Sweet Home Chicago in the house. It seemed pretty cliché.

But I love to turn around a cliché now and then. This little pillow was surely made by someone's auntie in 1984 (I know because she added her initials and the date), and it could be on the settee right beside one of my Mema's cross-stitched monogram numbers. When I was growing up, embroidered pillows were de rigueur. While my mother was having her cross-stitch moment, there was also a lot of french knotting (natural cord on natural cotton, of course), and my grandmother did quite a bit of needlepoint. At that time, it's what you did.

I was in the cross-stitch camp as a girl, and I've been hot to try my hand at needlepoint. I have tons of books but have never actually tried it. I'm hoping my good friend Martha can help me get started -- she's a needlepoint genius.

This pillow has become one of my favorite little pieces. It's as if Mema decided to bring a little Chicago into the sitting room.

*Add a clapboard beach house on the outer banks, and I will be in heaven.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Haunted :: A La Tête :: Le Deuxième

May I present the second haunted chapeau from the weekend: a classic green 1950s beanie. Love this because it is so wearable. No hemming or hawing -- no looking costume-y. Just easy style. Personally, I am a big beret person, and it's nice to keep the signature beret shape and have the structure of a proper hat.

This soft green integrates well into my fall color palette -- I never realized that I had one until Kitty pointed it out. Funny, she points out a lot of things that I never realized. The fall palette is one of mauves, browns, heathered soft green, creams and grays. I'm a brunette* with a Scotch-Irish complexion, so it's a classic look with a brown base. I am thinking about debut-ing it in New York. Chic!

*I love the word "brunette". It's so Betty and Veronica.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Haunted :: A La Tête

From the weekend haunting: this very elegant 1960s Italian felt hat with feathers. Even with the high crown (very 60s), I think this is very wearable for fall. Everybody expects one to turn up the volume a little when it gets cooler, and I love wearing luxurious fabrics this time of year. And in Chicago it's not like we get a robust fall... in a few weeks we'll be wishing for sunshine and dealing with the bitterness of gray and wind.

Still, this isn't the type of thing you just run down for a coffee in -- or do you? Probably not, since this hat requires a proper shoe and attire. Definitely heels. With a slick trouser and a fitted jacket or fab sweater and a soft fringed gray shawl. Look out!

As my dear friend the Architect (a reformed hat wearer herself) told me long ago, "when you wear a hat like this, anyone -- and everyone -- will think nothing of walking up to you and striking up a conversation."

I'd better polish up my conversation skills.